News A referendum will be held by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election

Sir Nicholas Macpherson is accused of trying to scare the public into a Yes vote in an EU referendum

BA challenged over transatlantic alliance plan

British Airways faces a battle to go ahead with its planned alliance on transatlantic routes with giant US carrier American Airlines (AA), it was revealed today.

Hitch delays new BA luxury transatlantic service

British Airways suffered an embarrassing hitch to its new luxury transatlantic service today.

True Murder, By Yaba Badoe

"Even now, after all these years, I can hardly bear to look in a mirror," is the opening line of this dark, atmospheric, densely patterned novel. Ghanaian pre-teenager Ajuba is sent to boarding school in Devon. A lonely, confused child, she befriends the charismatic Polly Venus, who talks entirely in transatlantic clichés ("Hallo?", "That totally sucks!", "You just don't get it, do you?"). Exploring the attic of Polly's house they find a bundle of what they take to be kitten bones. But they're not. They are the bones of babies.

The Bagel, By Maria Balinska

The famous story of the Polish defeat of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 being celebrated by the croissant is now thought to be apocryphal. Another baked commemoration of this event is possibly more credible – rolls in the shape of turbans and stirrups ("beugels" in German). Certainly the bagel became a staple of Yiddish communities in Poland.

DVD: Lie To Me (15)

Following Hugh Laurie's transatlantic success in House, British actors are enjoying a departure from their traditional role as sneering malcontent or hapless sidekick.

The feral beast: Barber says 'bye-bye'

Another blow for The Observer. Lynn Barber is jumping ship. The legendary interviewer, whose autobiography, An Education, has been adapted into a film by Nick Hornby due out next month, is said to be quitting The Observer in its darkest hour and decamping to the warm bosom of The Sunday Times.

Adrian Hamilton: Two-party politics is doing us no good

On the big questions the Tories and Labour seem determined to avoid any debate at all

Government downgrades terrorist threat level

The UK terrorist threat level has been downgraded from "severe" to "substantial", Home Secretary Alan Johnson said today.

Observations: Islington plays host to Europe's first 'Literary Death Match'

Marlowe aside, writers are probably the last people you'd expect to find in a bar brawl. But next Tuesday, the Old Queen's Head in Islington, north London will be the venue for Europe's first "Literary Death Match". Courtesy of Opium, an American literary magazine, the death match has become a feature of the cultural calendar in cities across the US, featuring such esteemed participants as Tom Perrotta (author of Little Children and Election), Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Moby (the musician, not the whale).

Caffari and co beat British Isles record

The all-woman crew of Dee Caffari, Samantha Davies, Miranda Merron and Alex Sizer yesterday knocked over 17 hours off the record for sailing non-stop round the British Isles, setting a new time of six days 11hrs 30min 53sec in the Caffari’s Open 60, Aviva.

Leading article: Still semi-detached from Europe

The chickens of Gordon Brown's G20 summit in London came home to roost yesterday in Brussels at an EU summit in which Britain once again appeared embattled and bereft of ideas. In London in April the Prime Minister staked his claim as a leader of the western world in its fight against the recession on a close alliance with the United States and a demand for reflation – which most of Europe rejected.

Transatlantic pilot dies mid-flight

Co-pilots were forced to take over the controls and land a transatlantic passenger jet in the US today after the captain died mid-flight.

Telefonica dominate Volvo Ocean Race

A first and a third for Bouwe Bekking in Telefonica Blue reinforced Spain’s growing dominance of the inshore stages of the Volvo race yesterday as sistership Telefonica Black scored a second and a fourth.

EU competition probe could hit BA's American dream

Multiple anti-trust investigations question transatlantic agreements
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
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Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
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Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
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Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
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Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
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Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
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The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
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Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable